Elite League's Exciting Finish
It’s all to play for in what promises to be a thrilling final three game days of the regular season in the Elite Ice Hockey League. The league title, playoff places, and playoff seeding are all still up for grabs.
The league also celebrated welcoming over one million spectators so far during the 2018/19 season after last Saturday’s games. More statistics can be found here.
Cardiff lead the way with a two-point advantage over Belfast. The Giants won midweek live on FreeSports, and return to home ice against Fife on Friday and Dundee on Saturday. Cardiff meanwhile don’t hit the ice again until Saturday against Milton Keynes, before ending their regular season away to Coventry on Sunday. Three points will be enough for Cardiff to win their third successive league title - they may also do it with less if Belfast drop any points in their remaining games, or only win them in overtime or a shootout.
Coventry Blaze, Manchester Storm and Dundee Stars are all still fighting for the eighth and final playoff place. The Blaze are in the leading position so far, ahead the Storm by a point and the Stars by two. They travel to Manchester on Saturday evening in what could be a decisive showdown - the Storm are also in action on Friday night in Milton Keynes.
Dundee meanwhile need to win both of their remaining games (away to Belfast and Guildford), and hope other results go their way, to make the post-season.
Nottingham Panthers, Glasgow Clan, Guildford Flames, Fife Flyers and Sheffield Steelers have all qualified for the playoffs - but where they end the regular season, and how they are therefore seeded for the playoffs, is still to be decided. The Panthers need just one more point in their final game (home to Guildford) to finish third, but could already be assured of that on Friday night should Fife fail to beat Belfast. The back-to-back series between Fife and Glasgow gives both sides the chance to finish above the other, while Guildford finish on Sunday at home to Dundee as they try to overtake the Clan and take fourth place.
At the conclusion of the regular season, the schedule for the PredictorBet Playoffs is drawn as follows:
1st vs. 8th
2nd vs. 7th
3rd vs. 6th
4th vs. 5th
Playoff matchups are an aggregate-scoring, home and away series. The team finishing higher in the regular season has first choice of ‘home advantage’ (i.e. playing the return leg at home), but may opt to give up this right. The four winning teams advance to the PredictorBet Playoff Finals Weekend, which takes place over 13 & 14 April. Details about media accreditation for the Finals Weekend can be found here.